Religious painting in Macedonia remained strongly attached to the Byzantine tradition for doctrinal and historical reasons, in that subjection to Islam led the Christians to rally around the authentic traditions of Orthodoxy.
The monasteries on Mount Athos played a decisive role: under their guidance, the artists they invited from other parts of the Greek world painted works that then enriched the art of the local workshops.
The major line of cleavage in painting falls in the 18th century, when the painters and their public became more receptive to elements drawn from western painting. This can be seen very clearly in the painting of secular buildings. The break with the Byzantine past came in the second half of the 19th century, in the context of a movement for the renewal of religious painting.